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The Arcane Realm: Land of Freedom and Magicks (FFAZ)

Fizzytopian Idol
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Meetan- Eridian quickly scares off the Pidove, they weren't about to mess with a little black thug dragon! Thankfully that means the majority of the elderly traders goods are intact, the mountain of spilled berries and home-baked goods were salvageable but their value would likely be depreciated. That likely wasn't good, as from what you could gather from the merchant's behaviour, he needed the money. You quickly come to his aid though, tossing out a ball and releasing Farren the Pineco. The Pink Pineco was just one of many oddly coloured Pokemon you possessed, but in a place called the Arcane Realm, people had probably seen much stranger things than a black Bagon and a Pink Pineco. First things first, you had to get the cart back on four wheels. You order Eridian to use his Strength to lift the cart, which he does with ease. Farren follows with a String Shot, pinning the thread to cart's rear before reeling it in, ensuring the the cart isn't placed back in the same hole it had hit to tip over. With the cart back on all four wheels, the elderly merchant begins to load the items back in, working as fast as his ageing body would allow. You begin to help, as does Eridian and Farren, although the Pineco struggles without any notable appendages. You offer to help pull the cart as well, but the old man shakes his head.

"No I need to get my Tauros back, I'd be lost without him", the old man is shaking in panic at this point. "Something has been messing up the road recently, there are holes like this all over the place. I didn't see this one until it was too late and the cart tipped, Tauros panicked and broke free, bolting off in that direction." He points off the road, through a thicket of trees. You can clearly see tracks heading off in that direction, it likely wouldn't be overly hard to track the spooked Tauros. "I can finish loading everything back up, would you be a dear and go find my Tauros? He might need to be calmed down, but he's not overly aggressive."
The Pidove scattered, intimidated by her beloved dragon, and the plan to sort the cart out was a success. It was soon back on its wheels, and they were able to help the old man a little bit. Alice felt awful for him. Seeing someone upset like this was always distressing for her - she was quite empathetic and it was like their feelings resonated - but with someone elderly it always seemed to hurt more. She knew the food's value might have been depreciated, but she was considering whether it would be worth trying to buy some anyway, once this was all said and done. Plenty of food items in Fizzytopia unlocked a Pokemon's abilities, and maybe some of this would do the same? If not, she expected her Pokemon would still find them delicious, and it was always good to be well stocked when on an adventure with no idea where the fuck you were going.

"Hey, don't worry too much about it. We'll go and get that Tauros for you." Alice assured him, her voice encouraging and yet soothing all the same. She could be a selfish bitch, but right now she wasn't thinking of rewards. Besides, seeing a Tauros in the flesh could be cool! She'd always loved Tauros, but had yet to encounter one in her Fizzytopia frenzy. "Eridian, Farren; can you try to pick up the Tauros' scent? I know your nose isn't as strong, Farren, it's just better for both of you to try anyway." She added, and the bagworm nodded in acknowledgement, hopping along the ground to try and get a sense of the Pokemon's smell. The Bagon was sniffing along the rope and part of the cart as well as the ground, doing his best to get a sense for the runaway before doing the same along the grassy tracks. That'd help separate the Tauros' aroma from the birds', too.

They didn't have time to waste, though, so once her Pokemon were ready to roll, Alice would pick up Farren and get ready to jog - or at least briskly walk - after Eridian, who she'd encourage to pick up the pace. Hopefully he wouldn't force her into a run, not that it'd be the first time. Her stamina was better these days but she just wasn't built to run, it was a fact, and even if she'd been working on it she had naturally weak ankles... Life's a biatch. "Even if he does get aggressive, we've got it, but we'll do our best not to hurt him. Otherwise pulling the cart'll be an issue." Hopefully it wasn't already injured, but if he was, they could try to fix that as well. Maybe there would be berries or other items about that they could gather to help bribe or heal the Tauros with.
 
No need for the disco
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THE ARCANE REALM

"The moment man devoured the fruit of knowledge, he sealed his fate... Entrusting his future to the cards, man clings to a dim hope. Yes, the Arcana is the means by which all is revealed..." Nyx Avatar (Persona 3)



The Land of Cups

Named for the small valleys and tall hills and mountains native to the region, forming almost natural cups, this is an almost verdant and fertile land. Despite the desert in the very north and the mountains nestled in, a large variety of life can be found here. The Land of Cups is the jewel of the Arcane Realm, and without it, the realm would be a lot more desolate. Luckily, there a preservation efforts to make the this jewel doesn’t lose its shine. (Please respond in Plum

XVII. Desert of Stars - A small, arid desert at the northern tip of the Land of Cups, the Desert of Stars is named for the various meteorites found within this region. While more a dry, mountainous desert than a sandy one, sandstorms are still a common occurance here. Though, despite these conditions, explorers and treasure hunters flock to this region for the meteorites found here, and the rare Pokemon attracted to them. Some have even stated they’ve had some otherworldly experiences here.

Oh, how long it had been...

For many people, the prospect of a journey to a desert on the whims of nostalgia would be seen as peculiar, and few would argue that there was a certain majesty to the sands that time forgot. Yes, while forests grow and topple, cities rise and crumble, and kingdoms rule and collapse, the desert remained as natural as it was, the eventual fate of any world, to return to dust. True, fortunes existed within the dunes, and some spoke of mystery and intrigue within the sands, and of ancient and vast catacombs. Anyone who would have spoken of them would be deemed a madman, for no such labyrinthian structures existed within the desert anymore, the winds having ground them to the dust they grew from.

Nuhuko would call those people fools, as would Alex.

Currently the human and Lunatone were staring down the expanse of rock, and reminiscing. Yes, the Arcane Realm held a special place in Alex's heart, for his first foray into Fizzytopia was indeed within this land, and with naught but a Chimchar and Snover by his side, he pushed through trials and earned the freedom and respect of the Meteorite pokemon. It had been several years since then, and those two adventurous creatures had grown and matured. The Snover, now a mighty Abomasnow and the first of Alex's team to experience mega evolution, yet Mistilteinn had opted to remain back at what makeshift camp they called home, while the fire starter was an Infernape, who was making his way back to Alex and Nuhuko after a little scouting. The monkey looked into the pumpkin tinted rock pokemon's eyes, and both gave a respectful nod. It had been in a desert akin to this where the pair first did battle, and while the outcome did lead to friendship and Alex's first capture within the region, it also brought with it a slight rivalry.

Such rivalry eventually faded into true companionship, and as the psychic pokemon conversed with the fighting type, the human in the group idly fidgeted with his wrist, a quiet click emanating from a black clad gauntlet. Gently raising it from its slot, Alex gave a quick once over on the end of his arm. It was a little itchy, and perhaps that was due to phantom pains, but on the other hand it truly felt like he had stepped back in time. Reattaching the prosthetic, he gave it a couple of idle flexes to ensure proper connection before turning to his oldest companions (excluding that one Golurk) and waved his hand. It was time to move in to find adventure once more.
 
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TKF: Adrienne snorted, rolling your eyes before you were even done with your speech. She was a dishonourable, spoiled hack and you made sure that she knew it! Her winning tactic had angered you enough to see red, and you knew that limitless bond with Charizard might suddenly have a hard line ruled through it because of her behaviour. Unbelievable!

“Silver spoon fed princess? Am I? Did it ever occur to you that Buginum Z was something that I earned fair and square? Do you think that these powerful Pokemon were just given to me? Hah. You're far from perfect. You're a child who thinks that he's a big man, who thinks that he knows everything. Perhaps I should have taken that Fennekin after all. At the very least, I could have found it a better trainer than the likes of you.”

Her lofty tone ends in venom, pink eyes skimming you over like you were worse than a lowly Grubin – like you were scum that weren't worth the sole of a murderer's shoes. “My 'lowly' Grubin grew into this, a powerful battler. I could think of worse comparisons. A true trainer is ready for whatever comes their way, including an arrogant little thief's super effective mega evolution. As if your tactics were any better, some brute force easy mode. Don't play like you're some knight to me, little boy. Karma has caught up to you, now, and it's going to do one worse. All of your own impatience and judgement will now lose you your bounty.” She tilted her head ever so slightly, beautiful pink waves falling to the side.

“I was going to give you a chance to battle me, for us to share the assumed treasures equally, along with whatever I was going to give you for your help today. But I see your presumptuous little behind doesn't deserve it.” Adrienne's voice was sheer cold. You thought she was nasty before? Now she's actively punishing you for your stereotypes, for your insolence, for your little tantrum to boot. It sounds like you, the grandson of a champion, were in fact in the presence of an elite trainer... So much for that silver spoon. “A boy who preaches about honour while sending his babies to raid. There's so much irony, you really will be a fun story for the message boards, won't you? We from Kalos love a good gossip, it's the same in Hoenn and Unova, too. I wonder how it is in Fizzytopia? Your grandfather would be so disappointed to hear about your reputation, if he's still kicking, that is...”

She's smirking. She doesn't care about your feelings anymore, if she ever did. You could try grovelling or apologising, but it might be too late. You could try distracting her with a new Pokemon to strike, but could you even do anything substantial if you tried? “Viki, help Rosetta take care of those children.” The older teenager ordered, her Vikavolt lifting from the ground to shoot off into the bushes behind you – where the Vivillion had suddenly taken some kind of nosedive. “Time to show their parent what consequences look like...”

What do you do?
As the verbal volley was returned, everything suddenly hit Xander like a Beedrill to the chest. He'd gone into this with the best intentions, but at some point he'd let the girl's personality morph him into a form of himself that he'd never seen before. Was this the power of the Fool's Path? Or perhaps he'd just been a fool completely on his own. Either way, he'd made so many assumptions about Adrienne, just because she'd been disrespectful to her, didn't mean he had the right to return serve. His father and grandfather wouldn't have been disappointed in him losing the battle, but he knew now they'd be really disappointed in the way he'd behaved. As much as it pained him, he had to swallow his pride and apologise. "Wait!" Xander shouted, "that's enough, you've won." Every word hurt as it came out, but he continued. "I've been rude and disrespectful, I apologise for my actions. I'm not normally like this, I think I just got a bit carried away. I guess sometimes I feel like I've got a point to prove, starting my adventure so long after my friends, I feel like I'm constantly lagging behind. I honestly just wanted to help you recover your Buginium Z, but at some point I lost sight of that and my goal became more greedy. I'll take my Pokemon and leave, but one day we'll battle again and when we do, I'll win!" Xander took a deep breath, once the words started pouring out he couldn't stop them.

He'd come to piece with the fact that Fennekin's horde would likely be lost to them, but he now had a new goal as well, get stronger and smash Adrienne into the ground when next they met.
 
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Meetan- You reassure the elderly merchant that you would retrieve his Tauros, you really felt for him and his situation. You task your two Pokemon to tracking the lost bull's scent, it goes without saying that Eridian would have more success in this than Farren. The bagworm seems a little uncertain on what to do, he gives the footprints a couple of sniffs but can't really discern a particular scent. Eridian on the other hand is much more experienced in this sort of thing and quickly goes to where he can get a good whiff of the Tauros' scent. The broken straps and ropes at the front of the cart were drenched in the Tauros' odour, he had a read on it as soon as the smell entered his nostrils. From there he followed the scent trail over to the clearly defined hoof prints and began to follow them, quickly gaining distance. It was time to move! You reassure the man once more before scooping up Farren and heading off in a brisk walk after Eridian. Thankfully the little dragon wasn't moving too fast, he had to remain on the Tauros' trail after all.

You follow the Bagon for a few hundred metres before you emerge into a small clearing. There it was, the Tauros! The bull seems to have calmed down by itself, it was now feeding from a small bush on the far side of the clearing, its back turned to you. It seems to be happily grazing from the bush, but it had a job to do, the old man needed it and you promised to bring it back to him. Eridian is wary of approaching, even though the Tauros seemed relaxed, it would likely spook easily if he wasn't careful. You'd found the Tauros, but how would you go about getting it back to its owner?
 
Fizzytopian Idol
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TKF: Fitting for a bug specialist, Adrienne's words suddenly enlighten you, but in a way that isn't pleasant. Ignorance is bliss, so they say, but perhaps this ignorance would have burned you in the end. To see the truth: that you had lost yourself to your anger and insecurity, it felt like a Beedrill had impaled you – and honestly, with how Adrienne's looking at you right now you honestly wonder for a moment if she might actually release one and take you out. Nobody would ever know...

“Those aren't excuses for acting like a piece of shit.” It's hard to say whether she forgives you or not, Adrienne hasn't confirmed that part yet. It also doesn't look like she's going to. “Come and get your Pokemon, then, and hope that something's left of them.” The words are spoken in a sigh. She wouldn't actually do that, would she? Surely not. It's hard to say, the image Adrienne projects clearly isn't the same as her true self. The sound of an explosion and Pokemon cries – that you recognise as your trio – fill the air, but thankfully, Adrienne had the mercy to put things to a halt.

“Viki! Rosetta! Heel!” She clapped her hands, now strolling into the gathering of bushes and trees, seemingly uncaring for dirt on her beautiful clothes or any marks or scratches on her pristine skin. The Vivillion emerged in the air once more, the Vikavolt returning to her trainer. If you were to follow her, you'd find that there really was a trove of treasure to be found – and your Pokemon. Froakie was hanging from String in a tree and both Chimchar and Fennekin had been knocked out. Whatever had blown the pair up, at least Froakie was alright, although a check on the Pokedex would oddly show three levels gained for their theft attempt.

Adrienne picked up her Buginium Z, glinting in light that broke through the trees. There were leftover food, some other items and discs that look like Technical Machines. As expected, the trainer takes first dibs, and then tosses a TM in your direction. Rage. She has a fucking sense of humour, this one. Think she can tutor Spite, too?

“Here. The rest is yours.” Adrienne decided, making a gesture to Viki, whose mandibles snip the poor Froakie loose. The bug even delicately helps the starter to the ground! Apparently the mean lesson is over with. “I look forward to you beating me in a battle one day, you know, if I ever get hold of one of those Dream Machines or become a psychic. Come on, girls.”

The Pokemon trill their goodbyes to you, and you are left in the dust of your failure: two fallen Pokemon, a bruised Froakie, TM Rage, a batch of Leftovers and several notes that add up to a hundred and fifty pokedollarydoos. Better luck next time, little thief, but at least this was better than nothing...?
 
Fizzytopian Idol
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Meetan- You reassure the elderly merchant that you would retrieve his Tauros, you really felt for him and his situation. You task your two Pokemon to tracking the lost bull's scent, it goes without saying that Eridian would have more success in this than Farren. The bagworm seems a little uncertain on what to do, he gives the footprints a couple of sniffs but can't really discern a particular scent. Eridian on the other hand is much more experienced in this sort of thing and quickly goes to where he can get a good whiff of the Tauros' scent. The broken straps and ropes at the front of the cart were drenched in the Tauros' odour, he had a read on it as soon as the smell entered his nostrils. From there he followed the scent trail over to the clearly defined hoof prints and began to follow them, quickly gaining distance. It was time to move! You reassure the man once more before scooping up Farren and heading off in a brisk walk after Eridian. Thankfully the little dragon wasn't moving too fast, he had to remain on the Tauros' trail after all.

You follow the Bagon for a few hundred metres before you emerge into a small clearing. There it was, the Tauros! The bull seems to have calmed down by itself, it was now feeding from a small bush on the far side of the clearing, its back turned to you. It seems to be happily grazing from the bush, but it had a job to do, the old man needed it and you promised to bring it back to him. Eridian is wary of approaching, even though the Tauros seemed relaxed, it would likely spook easily if he wasn't careful. You'd found the Tauros, but how would you go about getting it back to its owner?
Alice was glad that Eridian quickly found the Tauros' scent. Of course she had faith in him, but this world tended to throw the weirdest wrenches around, and she never enjoyed figuring out how to stop getting hit by them. Often they tended to just hit her harder, and surprisingly, she wasn't that into it! Quietly, and taking in the sweet sights of nature, Alice followed after the concentrating dragon until they came across the Tauros. Keeping silent, the blonde expressed her awe with a dramatic facial expression, resisting the urge to snap a few photos with her Pokegear. She didn't want to disturb him, but they had to, and in a way that didn't mean it killed them to death.

"Farren, can you attract the Tauros with your sweet scent?" Admittedly they were risking attracting all sorts with such a move, but Alice just wanted to try and keep the creature calm while they led it back to the old man. Still expressing her plan in a whisper, Alice added, "Eridian, approach from front and try talking to him. Let him know what's going on. I'll wait back here, let him know so he doesn't get scared. I have treats, too, if he wants any." She had some poffin, pokeblock and castelia cones at least. There was probably something on her person that would appeal to the Pokemon's palette. Hanging back, the Bagon stalked off to get to a good point to move in, trying to appear as non-threatening as possible... Which, for Eridian, was quite frankly difficult. If a Pokemon could have resting bitch face, it was absolutely him. Farren, however, was more like Lorin. The easygoing Pineco somehow managed to have an upbeat vibe without actually having much of a face. Maybe it was because of how cute the pink bagworm was? Pink fumes began to release from the cone, filling the air with a sweet and peaceful aroma, and Alice hoped that her tactic would work.

Thing was, she had this funny feeling that it really, really wouldn't.
 
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TKF: Fitting for a bug specialist, Adrienne's words suddenly enlighten you, but in a way that isn't pleasant. Ignorance is bliss, so they say, but perhaps this ignorance would have burned you in the end. To see the truth: that you had lost yourself to your anger and insecurity, it felt like a Beedrill had impaled you – and honestly, with how Adrienne's looking at you right now you honestly wonder for a moment if she might actually release one and take you out. Nobody would ever know...

“Those aren't excuses for acting like a piece of shit.” It's hard to say whether she forgives you or not, Adrienne hasn't confirmed that part yet. It also doesn't look like she's going to. “Come and get your Pokemon, then, and hope that something's left of them.” The words are spoken in a sigh. She wouldn't actually do that, would she? Surely not. It's hard to say, the image Adrienne projects clearly isn't the same as her true self. The sound of an explosion and Pokemon cries – that you recognise as your trio – fill the air, but thankfully, Adrienne had the mercy to put things to a halt.

“Viki! Rosetta! Heel!” She clapped her hands, now strolling into the gathering of bushes and trees, seemingly uncaring for dirt on her beautiful clothes or any marks or scratches on her pristine skin. The Vivillion emerged in the air once more, the Vikavolt returning to her trainer. If you were to follow her, you'd find that there really was a trove of treasure to be found – and your Pokemon. Froakie was hanging from String in a tree and both Chimchar and Fennekin had been knocked out. Whatever had blown the pair up, at least Froakie was alright, although a check on the Pokedex would oddly show three levels gained for their theft attempt.

Adrienne picked up her Buginium Z, glinting in light that broke through the trees. There were leftover food, some other items and discs that look like Technical Machines. As expected, the trainer takes first dibs, and then tosses a TM in your direction. Rage. She has a fucking sense of humour, this one. Think she can tutor Spite, too?

“Here. The rest is yours.” Adrienne decided, making a gesture to Viki, whose mandibles snip the poor Froakie loose. The bug even delicately helps the starter to the ground! Apparently the mean lesson is over with. “I look forward to you beating me in a battle one day, you know, if I ever get hold of one of those Dream Machines or become a psychic. Come on, girls.”

The Pokemon trill their goodbyes to you, and you are left in the dust of your failure: two fallen Pokemon, a bruised Froakie, TM Rage, a batch of Leftovers and several notes that add up to a hundred and fifty pokedollarydoos. Better luck next time, little thief, but at least this was better than nothing...?
Xander rushed to his Pokemon as Adrienne departed, how could he let this happen to them! He cradle Froakie in his arms as he recalled Chimchar and Fennekin. They were bruised and beaten, but by Arceus would they be eager for revenge. Adrienne would regret ever crossing him, treating him like dirt. He wouldn't be disrespectful when next they met, no he would pay her the respect a trainer of her calibre deserved and he'd give her a battle she'd truly remember. He pocketed the few items they'd been left and began his rush to the nearest town, his Pokemon needed medical attention.....

Chimchar reached lvl 19!
Froakie reached lvl 19!
Fennekin reached lvl 17!


XX. Meadow of Judgement - Named for being one of the places where heretics and traitors were tried, the meadow has now grown out from that purpose and is a large place of life for small critters and flowers. The beautiful flowers provide food and shelter for a variety of Pokemon living there, and the feeling of magic is strong here. Mages can often be found here practicing their craft due to the large, powerful leyline within the Meadow. It is also said by the religious sect of the Arcane Realm is that this is where Judgement Day will commence, and all of the flowers here symbolize a soul that will be saved.
It had been some time since their dealings with Adrienne, yet the defeat still stung. After getting his Pokemon healed, Xander continued to travel through the Arcane Realm, training and battling with his Pokemon so they'd be more prepared the next time they crossed paths with the Bug Specialist. Now they found themselves in the Land of Cups, training in a meadow of beautiful flowers. There was a strong sense of magic in the air as Xander watched his Pokemon exchange blows.

Fennekin had grown a lot since its capture, as evident by the way it was handling itself against Chimchar and Froakie. It had faced the pair when they first met, but now with some training under its belt, it was much more capable of dealing with them. The tricky fox sends Chimchar tumbling backwards. The Fire type had tried getting in close, only to be met with a powerful Psybeam for his efforts. As the chimp finds its feet, it feels unsteady and begins to stumble around, clearly confused. Froakie keeps his distance, firing off a Bubble barrage that puts Fennekin on the retreat, doing her best to pop the Bubbles with Scratch. Froakie launches a Water Pulse amongst the Bubbles however and catches Fennekin by surprise. As she pops the Water Pulse she is washed backwards, a nasty hit indeed. Fennekin quickly finds her feet however, letting out a Howl as she begins to glow. The fox suddenly rises onto two feet, her body undergoing drastic change as her evolution begins. As the light continues to glow, the Fire types arms develop and its tail grows. Fennekin evolved into Braixen!

(Feeding 3 Rare Candies to Fennekin, boosting her to lvl 20 and evolving her into Braixen!)

The newly evolved Braixen pulls the stick from her tail, igniting the piece of wood before she begins to whirl it around. She generates a towering Fire Spin around Froakie, the Water type had nowhere to run. Still wielding her stick like a wand, Braixen fires off another Psybeam, striking Froakie with a powerful hit.

"That'll do Fen... Braxien!" Xander wasn't all too surprised she'd evolved, he'd come here, to the Meadow of Judgement, with the intent of evolving her. He had heard this place was full of mages and the newly evolved Braixen would likely appreciate so tutelage from those more experienced with magic. "Great work Froakie and Chimchar, you two can have a bit of a rest", Xander recalled the pair into their Pokeballs. "Alright Braixen, why don't we go see if we can find someone who can help you hone your new powers?" Braixen smiled as she looked over her new body, clearly impressed with the evolution.
 
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Meetan- Not wanting to spook the Tauros, you decide that convincing the Tauros to follow you of its own volition would be better than announcing your presence. To that end, you order Farren to release a Sweet Scent, the enticing aroma would likely draw the Tauros in, then all you had to do was lead it back to the cart! You had some extra treats ready should they be needed and Eridian would approach from the front once you had the Tauros' attention and would fill it in on the situation. If all went as planned, there was no way you could fail. The pretty pink Pineco continues to release its Sweet Scent, the slight breeze wafts the perfume towards the Tauros. You watch eagerly as the pink cloud reaches the Normal type, quickly grabbing its attention. The bull's tails swish with excitement and it quickly turns around to find the source of the delightful aroma. A look of pure glee in its eyes it approaches Farren, it doesn't appear frightened at all. The bashful bull begins to lick the bag worm, Farren doesn't seem all too delighted by this but he knows he can't afford to scare the Tauros. Eridian approaches carefully, coming at the Tauros head on so he was less likely to surprise it. You watch as the Bagon explains that you are here to lead it back to its master, the Tauros appears to understand.

Something catches Eridian's eye, causing him to turn. The dirt is being pushed up as something burrows through the ground, approaching at speed. He stands at the ready, but whatever it is digs straight under him, what was it after? Not what, who! Farren suddenly disappears as a hole appears beneath him, causing him to drop a few feet under the ground. The Tauros is a little startled but thankfully it doesn't run off. Meanwhile, down in the hole, Farren looks into the eyes of the Pokemon that dragged him down here, well rather, the jaws. A large pair of orange jaws are all the Pineco can see. Whatever it was, it was drawn in by the Sweet Scent and appeared infatuated with the Pineco.
 
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Missingno. Master

The Grimer seemed to shrink down slightly, their belief in their leader and the need for a barrier waning. Your Furret's words had made them contemplate why they were really fighting, the simple words of their leader that humans were terrible? They were certainly starting to doubt that he was even remotely steering them in an accurate direction. They murmured to one another, tossing glances in the direction of yourself and your Pokemon as well as back at their leader. The Muk seemed to be growing agitated. It was itching for fight, and not having one was clearly bothering it. It's multicolored skin flashed in irritation, yet it remained hidden behind it's metaphorical wall.

Meanwhile, as her name implied, Help literally swung into action. She used her circular body to swing herself in all sorts of directions, landing near the fallen Grimer and chiming a bell, causing the creature to rise.


'T-THANK YOU.' It murmured, clearly less aggressive and more shy than it's companions. It extended a hand to Help, clearly grateful for her going out of her way to revive it. It looked back at his companions, a frown crossing it's goopy face. 'MUK WON'T BACK DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT. HE LOVES ATTACKING HUMANS.' It sighed, looking back at it's companions. 'MY BROTHERS MEAN WELL... BUT THEY'RE TOO AFRAID TO CROSS MUK.' It watched the group for a while, noticing a shadow moving with seemingly nothing attached to it. 'DO YOU... SEE THAT?' It asked, pointing towards the ground and drawing her attention to the small shadow. Help seemed slightly confused, the Grimer and Muk hadn't noticed it yet. It's patterns were irregular and it worked it's way to the backside of the Muk.

'TUMMMMP!' The cry of the Phantump rang out, ascending out of the ground like a phantom and forcing it's small body weight at the large Muk. The Muk hissed out in response, sinking back into the ground before turning around and grabbing the Phantump Screeching loudly in it's face.

'YOU DARE ATTACK ME?!' The Muk swung the Phantump around, tossing it's body towards your ground. Thinking quickly, Laugh set up the Protect, cushioning the blow of the Phantump. It bounced off the protect, landing on the cold grassy ground in front of your group. 'YOU DARE SIDE WITH HUMANS? AFTER WHAT THEY DID TO YOUR MOTHER?' Muk's words were not sympathetic, but rather mocking. The Phantump pulled itself up, staring at the Muk with distaste.

'They...' It groaned in pain, slowly floating back up. 'They caught her... it's not like she's dead.' The Phantump coughed, clearly close to fainting from the sheer force of the throw plus it's earlier battle with you. The Muk's smirk curled in distaste, looking at the small ghost.

'YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT? YOU'RE MORE FOOLISH THAN I THOUGHT!' It screamed out the last words, swinging it's arm to deal the final blow. The Phantump reacted quickly, closing it's eyes as an invisible Bond was formed between itself and the Muk. The Muk smacked it with a large hand, Knocking it's block off. The Phantump flew backwards, vanishing before it's body was able to hit your protective shield. The Muk chuckled seeing it's body dissipate, it was ready to Fling one of it's companions at you but it suddenly began to spasm.

'W-WHAT?! WHAT IS THIS?' It cried out, screaming in horror as it felt it's health drain. 'NO! N-NO!' It cried out loudly, melting back into the ground. The Grimer turned in horror.

'MUK?!' They cried out, seeing that their companion was no more. They all looked at one another before quickly fleeing, running from the battle.

Ava gained 2 Levels
Laugh gained 2 Levels
Help gained 1 Level


Help and the previously fallen Grimer looked around, their faces dimming as they realized that they Phantump was truly gone. Grimer sighed, glancing at where the Muk had melted into the ground. 'IT NEEDED TO BE DONE... NOW HUMANS CAN VISIT AGAIN.' It frowned, clearly not believing the words it was speaking. 'I SHOULD LEAVE TOO. THIS AREA CAN FINALLY HEAL WITHOUT US AROUND.' It glanced at your team, clearly feeling guilty for polluting the area.


What do you do?
Terri gave a small smile- her words, and especially Zoom's words, they seemed to be getting through to the Grimer at least. Muk, on the other hand, seemed to be growing more and more agitated with every second that the fight it sought wasn't breaking out. This worried Terri- she hoped she could somehow get through to Muk as well.

Help, meanwhile, was on the move! The sentient lei maneuvered her way past the Poison/Dark-types like an extremely floral ninja, making her way to the injured Grimer and rousing it with a Heal Bell. Grimer was grateful for this, showing right away that it was much moe shy than the others, and much less aggressive. It sttated that Muk wouldn't back down without a fight, and that its brothers were alright, but too afraid of getting on Muk's bad side. And considering the reason Help had to go and, well, help Grimer in the first place, she couldn't really blame them much. The Comfey sighed. "Terri won't give up on trying to stop this without a fight," she replied to Grimer. "Muk's distrust of humans- that sort of thing really strikes a nerve with her, more than most things do." Then, Grimer pointed out something on the ground- a strange shadow, seemingly attached to nothing, moving about on its own."Huh," murmured Help. "What is...?"

Phantump. It was Phantump. The spooky stump appeared from nowhere, executing Phantom Force, which... didn't do very much. Well, aside from pissing Muk off, anyway. The big bad blob grabbed Phantump, unleashing a Screech as he screamed in its face. Laugh hastened to set up a protect as Muk threw Phantump, but this didn't stop Muk from mocking the little ghost, reminding it of its mother's fate. Which, it turned out, was being caught, not dying. Not that Muk let that explanation slide- it slammed its large hand into Phantump, sending it flying, and... erasing it from existence?!

"Oh, no! Phantump!" Terri exclaimed. Despite the trouble Phantump had caused them earlier on, Terri more than understood why it was trying to keep them away, and had since grown to like the arboreal apparition. She had even been giving consideration to the notion of asking Phantump if it wanted to accompany her on her journey. Laugh took hold of one of Terri's trembling hands, in an attempt to comfort her. And Terri managed a weak yet sincere smile in response- said attempt went neither unnoticed nor unappreciated.

The moment, however, was abruptly interrupted by Muk's screams. Ava was ready to defend against whatever it was about to do, but found this unnecessary, for Muk's screams were of horror- its body was starting to melt into the ground, and not due to any deliberate maneuver on its part. "Wh- Destiny Bond," Terri gasped. "That's what Phantump did just before..."

"And since Phantump... well..." murmured Laugh, "Muk's also..."

The Froslass did not need to finish her statement. It was sinking in all around exactly what happened to a murderer when their victim's final act was to use Destiny Bond. And as they also learned then and there, four out of five Grimer agree that this was an excellent time to haul ass.

Help and the remaining Grimer looked around, saddened by Phantump's demise. Grimer, however, turned its attention to the spot where Muk disappeared, stating that it needed to be done, that Muk's death meant humans could come again. It then continued on, clearly feeling guilty, stating that it too should leave so the area could finally begin to heal.

Terri and Laugh exchanged looks, and then exchanged nods. The lovers knew good and well what needed done here, and with that established, Terri approached the oddly toothy regional variant. "Grimer," she said, rummaging through her bag with one hand as she spoke. "You said earlier that you'd love a home, didn't you? I meant what I said- there really are good humans out there, ones who would give loving homes to any kind of Pokémon, and I know one such human personally. He's an experienced Pokémon Trainer who'll welcome any kind of Pokémon, but he's got a real soft spot for Poison-types like you. If you don't know where you should go next... I could take you to him," she offered, finally drawing her hand back out of her bag, revealing the Poké Ball she was clutching, the second out of a set of five. And while this was going on, Help looked around the desolate area, and decided to try and give it a little... well, a little help. She focused hard, hoping to infuse the Terrain with lots of Grassy energy. It would have been considerably optimistic of her to assume that this would completely undo what Muk and the Grimer have done over Xerneas only knows how long, but she figured it was at least a good starting point.


Ava grew to level 8!

Ava grew to level 9!

Ava learned Baby-Doll Eyes!

Laugh grew to level 49!

Laugh grew to level 50!

Help grew to level 15!
 
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ShadowDRGN- Collecting the map and saying well to your knew friends, you exit the dwelling and head off in the direction you'd been pointed. The Arcane Realm huh? You had no idea how you could have gone from the Unova region to some unknown realm, maybe your questions would be properly answered at some point but right now you had another task to worry about. It was starting to get dark and if you didn't get to the master's house by nightfall, you'd be forced to camp outside. It would be much better spending the night inside, especially if there were aggressive Water Pokemon getting around.....

You follow the lake for the most part, although you turn to the map when you feel like you're getting close. You were, Boss and the Buizel come to a stop, their more sensitive ears picking up a sound up ahead. They rush forward, surely you were getting sick of running at this point? You pursue anyway and soon hear the same chopping noise as they do, repetitive and rhythmic. You emerge into a clearing with a large cabin on the far side and a large Machamp in the middle, repetitively punching a large log that it has driven into the ground. It alternated its punches, taking turns striking with each of its four arms. Each punch hit the same spot with practised precision. Finally the log gives in an topples with a sickly crack. A hearty laugh fills the clearing, not from the Machamp, but from its trainer. "Well done Machamp, but I think we have some guests so that's enough training for today." You hadn't noticed the bulky elder at first, your eyes were too focused on his Machamp. "Alola traveller!" he greets you with cheer, "what brings you out here at this time of evening?"
As he's fishing out the map again, Jason stumbles upon an orange gem hiding in one of the pockets of his duffle bag. After a moment of confusion, he remembers buying it from a store near the Pokemon World Tournament that was carrying all sorts of Trainer gear. He's not normally one for jewelry, but the fact that it supposedly strengthens Fighting Type moves caught his attention, and he ended up throwing a pair into his shopping cart.

He thinks for a moment as he holds it up to the sun, and then he nods and turns to Pancham, "yo! Catch!" he tosses it to Boss, who perks up and nabs the stone out of the air, "next time we use your Arm Thrust, that thing'll give it some extra punch, I think. Should deal with that Crawdunt no problem!" he explains. Pancham grins mischievously at the idea of knocking out a Pokemon like that with one suped-up blow.

Jason turns his attention back to the map and unfolds it, checking it to confirm his heading, "looks like we're still good. How you feeling, Buizel? Ready for a kick-ass warmu-" he glances over to their travel companion, only to see both him and his Pokemon staring off into the forest and eventually rushing into the bushes, "huh? Hey, wait up!" he calls after them, swinging his bag back over his shoulder as he chases them down, where he sees the Machamp making lumber with it's rapid punches in the clearing.

"W-woah!" The Trainer jumps back a bit, earnestly surprised to see such a large and powerful Pokemon before him. He turns to Buizel and Boss worriedly, hoping it's not Wild before the man's laugh catches his attention. He wheels around to spot the source of the voice, and looks fairly relieved upon seeing the bulky man, "oh, uh... Alola! Some old dudes told me about you. Darla and Greg sound familiar to ya?" he asks, "they said that if we wanted to get stronger, we should come see you," he gestures between the three of them before putting his hands back in his pockets.

"This Buizel wants to get even with some punk Corphish and their boss for roughing him up, and I'm gonna be helping him out," Jason explains, "so... think you could give us some lessons? I can pay if you charge any fees or something," he says pretty straightforwardly.
 
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Meetan- Not wanting to spook the Tauros, you decide that convincing the Tauros to follow you of its own volition would be better than announcing your presence. To that end, you order Farren to release a Sweet Scent, the enticing aroma would likely draw the Tauros in, then all you had to do was lead it back to the cart! You had some extra treats ready should they be needed and Eridian would approach from the front once you had the Tauros' attention and would fill it in on the situation. If all went as planned, there was no way you could fail. The pretty pink Pineco continues to release its Sweet Scent, the slight breeze wafts the perfume towards the Tauros. You watch eagerly as the pink cloud reaches the Normal type, quickly grabbing its attention. The bull's tails swish with excitement and it quickly turns around to find the source of the delightful aroma. A look of pure glee in its eyes it approaches Farren, it doesn't appear frightened at all. The bashful bull begins to lick the bag worm, Farren doesn't seem all too delighted by this but he knows he can't afford to scare the Tauros. Eridian approaches carefully, coming at the Tauros head on so he was less likely to surprise it. You watch as the Bagon explains that you are here to lead it back to its master, the Tauros appears to understand.

Something catches Eridian's eye, causing him to turn. The dirt is being pushed up as something burrows through the ground, approaching at speed. He stands at the ready, but whatever it is digs straight under him, what was it after? Not what, who! Farren suddenly disappears as a hole appears beneath him, causing him to drop a few feet under the ground. The Tauros is a little startled but thankfully it doesn't run off. Meanwhile, down in the hole, Farren looks into the eyes of the Pokemon that dragged him down here, well rather, the jaws. A large pair of orange jaws are all the Pineco can see. Whatever it was, it was drawn in by the Sweet Scent and appeared infatuated with the Pineco.
At first, everything was going to plan, and Alice was delighted! Tauros didn't seem scared at all, which was good! In fact, looking as happy as he was, the bull was super, duper adorable! Seeing him lick her Pineco, though, she cringed with a grin on her face. "Ooof, sorry, Farren." She mumbled. Thankfully, he was a bug with plenty of patience, and it showed - he didn't make any motion to attack, simply squeezing his eyes shut and enduring it while Eridian did his part. In spite of his grumpy expression of neutrality, the Tauros wasn't upset at all, and the dragon eventually waved her over. She nodded, and began to walk back.

"All cool? Thanks, guys. And you're one beautiful Tauros, by the way, your human is so lucky!" Alice complimented, only to be distracted by the Bagon's keener senses. She turned to see where he was looking, and cursed grimly. Oh, for fuck's sake, of course they'd attract the problem-starter with their sweet scent as well. "Guys, brace yourselves!" She warned, one hand reaching to comfortingly and carefully touch the Tauros' mane as the digger approached... Only for the Pokemon to swallow up Farren into a hole. Alice was startled, like the Tauros, but not totally spooked. She wasn't entirely sure what to do, though. They couldn't lose the Tauros again.

"... It'll be okay. We're pretty strong, we promise. Right, Eri?" Alice looked to the dragon, who nodded, and seemed ready to fight if his trainer ordered it. She peered down the hole, thankfully able to see her Pineco. Thank goodness he was so bright! "Farren! You okay down there, buddy?"
"Pineco pine!" He answered loudly, in a way that implied he was, if not confused. A big mouth and orange? He'd feel threatened, if said orange didn't seem to look like it loved him. How odd.
"Can you use your string shot? We can catch it and pull you up!" Alice suggested, glancing to Eridian, who nodded. It seemed like a fine idea, although perhaps Tauros' tough hooves and horns would be more suited for the job. Regardless, Farren tried to angle himself to fire up a lengthy String Shot. If Eridian could catch it he could either pull or wrap it around himself and try to haul Farren out. "Try and get the Pokemon to come up with you! Let it know we're not trying to fight, I can even feed it if that's what it wants! ... Or battle it, if it prefers." She assumed she could take it. Arrogance on her part, but hey, if they couldn't then they'd find out!
 
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Raves: You've been to the Arcane Realm a long time ago, way back when Fizzytopia was a very different place. The Realm itself has changed, even this far out in the desert lands, although most people would have no idea about that. You think the populace is foolish to forget, and your Pokemon agree with you. Reminiscing brings you comfort, which is interest, because with all of the Hells you've traversed through – literal and otherwise – you'd think it'd trigger enough PTSD for you to just curl up onto the arid ground and let it swallow you whole.

It'd be a beautiful place to die in, to be fair, which is probably a good motivator for moving your behind. Below the blanket of stars, verdant hills and steep mountains surround you, albeit far away. The Land of Cups is a silly name, but very appropriate given the terrain, and if you don't come out with leg muscles for days you might have wasted your time. This area isn't the kind for other people, which suits your solitary nature well, but you swear that in the distance you see a lone silhouette – tall, thin and without curves; but their hair is still long and black and flowing in the wind. This small desert is supposedly littered in meteorites and forgotten treasures, and rare Pokemon besides. If you don't feel like talking to them, they might not have noticed you – and they certainly aren't looking your way! - but if you do... Maybe they would know where a good adventure could be found?

What do you do?

-

TKF: The Meadow of Judgement was an appropriate place for you to train for multiple reasons, when you think about it. You were ashamed of your own behaviour back on the day when you met Adrienne, in spite of the fact that her foul nature quite frankly had it coming. She had brought the worst out of you with ease, and although you had learned your lesson, taking some time out to make sure the lesson stuck was a good plan. Your family didn't reach greatness in a day, and neither would you!

Plus, the beautiful environment was teeming with magic. Sometimes you wondered if you could smell it or taste it, although it was probably just the flowers making you all high on life or something. It was a positive place to be mindful, and you found that although the Meadow of Judgement attracted all sorts, nobody caused trouble. That was all well and good, given Adrienne had troubled you enough that your soul might have aged ten years, but it meant everyone got on with their own thing. You clearly had, because Fennekin had finally evolved into Braixen! Wasn't that amazing?

You decided that you both needed to find someone to help unlock that magical power of yours, and off you went. It was late afternoon now, but the sun was still in the sky, and you had plenty of daylight and energy left in you. There were all sorts of people to ask. There was one guy who you'd seen hanging around even before you arrived who often kept to himself, and was doing so now, lazing under a tree with his Donphan. Others were scattered about training, but another figure stood out: a brunet who was a few years older than you at best; rocking an emo sweep that 2008 would be proud of, but who usually dressed in pastels and often had a grass Pokemon at his side. He seemed to get along with all of the Pokemon and trainers who passed through here, and tended to the many flowers that saved souls for the end of days. Sure, Braixen might have an advantage over his team in a battle, but you'd already been taught that advantages weren't everything. So, what do you do?
 
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ShadowDRGN- You return a greeting to the kindly elder gentleman, name dropping Greg and Darla so you didn't seem like some random stranger who just happened to stumble upon his house. You give him a quick run down on your situation, explaining that the elderly couple had advised you to seek him out, in hopes that some training would help the Buizel get its revenge. The old man strokes his old, grey moustache as he takes in your story, before strangely slapping both hands on his bulging belly and chuckling hardily. "It's true that I used to help kids like you train, been a while though. If you want me to come out of retirement, I'm afraid I'm going to have to see what you've got first." The old master gestures to the split log that his Machamp had just broken. "Have Buizel and Pancham take a crack at that log, one attack each should be enough for me to see what I need, even with these old eyes." He continues to chuckle, he certainly was easily amused, mostly by himself. "Oh how rude of me, I forgot to introduce myself! My name is Maleko, but most people just call me Master Mal. I used to be a Kahuna in the Alola Region but that was a while ago now." Until now you hadn't even noticed the black Z Power Ring wrapped around his left wrist. A orange-brown Z Crystal is embedded in the socket. Mal seems to notice you staring at the Z Ring and flashes it up in front of his face. "Ever seen one of these kiddo? I used to hand these out to young trainers like yourself, some were even lucky enough to earn a Fightinium Z Crystal from me like this one here." He taps the Z Crystal, causing it to flash a few times. "Z Crystals let you use Z Moves, a special move that really shows the bond you share with your Pokemon. Arceus, I'm rambling again aren't I, all this can wait for later. We're losing daylight, get over there and strike that log!"

Pancham and Buizel snap up straight as Mal suddenly raises his voice, it carried so much authority! The two were ready to show their strength, how should they go about it?


Meetan- You rush to the hole, sharing a quizzical look with the Tauros, you were both a bit confused about what had happened. You shout down the hole to Farren, who has unfortunately gone from one level of uncomfortable to another. As you call out, the Pineco rocks backwards and fires up a String Shot, seems like he really wants to get out of there....

Eridian grabs the thread and begins to pull, but it seems a little heavier than he expected. You find yourself drafted into the task, grimacing at how sticky the String Shot is as you work to pull your Pineco out of the hole. It was like deep sea fishing but on land! You had no idea what you could be dragging up, for all you knew it was more trouble. As the pink Pineco is finally pulled free from the hole, he has someone else attached to him. The big orange jaws of the Trapinch let go of the Pineco as it is dragged above ground. The little Ant Pit Pokemon shies away immediately, whimpering in fear. This didn't really feel like the sort of place you'd find a Trapinch, generally their species preferred sandy areas over forests. Eridian stands wary, not overly trusting of the Ground type. The Tauros seems fine though, perhaps it resonates with the fear in the Trapinch's eyes? From what you can tell it doesn't appear hostile, what are you going to do? The old man likely would have packed things up by now and would be desperate to get back on the road, could you afford to waste more of his time?
 
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Raves: You've been to the Arcane Realm a long time ago, way back when Fizzytopia was a very different place. The Realm itself has changed, even this far out in the desert lands, although most people would have no idea about that. You think the populace is foolish to forget, and your Pokemon agree with you. Reminiscing brings you comfort, which is interest, because with all of the Hells you've traversed through – literal and otherwise – you'd think it'd trigger enough PTSD for you to just curl up onto the arid ground and let it swallow you whole.

It'd be a beautiful place to die in, to be fair, which is probably a good motivator for moving your behind. Below the blanket of stars, verdant hills and steep mountains surround you, albeit far away. The Land of Cups is a silly name, but very appropriate given the terrain, and if you don't come out with leg muscles for days you might have wasted your time. This area isn't the kind for other people, which suits your solitary nature well, but you swear that in the distance you see a lone silhouette – tall, thin and without curves; but their hair is still long and black and flowing in the wind. This small desert is supposedly littered in meteorites and forgotten treasures, and rare Pokemon besides. If you don't feel like talking to them, they might not have noticed you – and they certainly aren't looking your way! - but if you do... Maybe they would know where a good adventure could be found?

What do you do?

-

TKF: The Meadow of Judgement was an appropriate place for you to train for multiple reasons, when you think about it. You were ashamed of your own behaviour back on the day when you met Adrienne, in spite of the fact that her foul nature quite frankly had it coming. She had brought the worst out of you with ease, and although you had learned your lesson, taking some time out to make sure the lesson stuck was a good plan. Your family didn't reach greatness in a day, and neither would you!

Plus, the beautiful environment was teeming with magic. Sometimes you wondered if you could smell it or taste it, although it was probably just the flowers making you all high on life or something. It was a positive place to be mindful, and you found that although the Meadow of Judgement attracted all sorts, nobody caused trouble. That was all well and good, given Adrienne had troubled you enough that your soul might have aged ten years, but it meant everyone got on with their own thing. You clearly had, because Fennekin had finally evolved into Braixen! Wasn't that amazing?

You decided that you both needed to find someone to help unlock that magical power of yours, and off you went. It was late afternoon now, but the sun was still in the sky, and you had plenty of daylight and energy left in you. There were all sorts of people to ask. There was one guy who you'd seen hanging around even before you arrived who often kept to himself, and was doing so now, lazing under a tree with his Donphan. Others were scattered about training, but another figure stood out: a brunet who was a few years older than you at best; rocking an emo sweep that 2008 would be proud of, but who usually dressed in pastels and often had a grass Pokemon at his side. He seemed to get along with all of the Pokemon and trainers who passed through here, and tended to the many flowers that saved souls for the end of days. Sure, Braixen might have an advantage over his team in a battle, but you'd already been taught that advantages weren't everything. So, what do you do?
As Xander walked through the meadow, he couldn't help but notice another trainer, maybe a couple of years older than himself. He'd seen him around the meadow before, often in the company of some grass Pokemon. He couldn't have mistaken him either, that haircut was one of a kind! He was feeling a bit wary about approaching someone after what happened with Adrienne but he had to get over that. Maybe he just needed a different approach? The guy obviously liked Grass Pokemon, maybe he'd like to see some? Xander retrieved two Pokeballs from his belt and tossed them out, releasing two of his own Grass types. Grotle and Bayleef appeared on the lush green of the meadow, both happy to be out of their balls again. Grotle immediately cosies up to Bayleef, however the Johto Starter shies away. Grotle had taken a liking to Bayleef and not just because of her spicy scent. Bayleef however was far too bashful to embrace Grotle's affection, that wasn't to say she didn't like him. Both were shock to see that Fennekin had evolved, while the newly evolved Braixen was more than happy to show off her new look, spinning and prancing around.

Xander casually made his way over to the trainer, introducing himself as politely as humanly possible. "Hey there, my name is Xander", he had never felt like more of a dork, he might as well have written up some palm cards. "I've seen you around the meadow tending to the flowers, it looks like interesting work. My Pokemon and I have just been doing some training, my Braixen here just evolved and we were hoping to find someone that could maybe help her work on her magic skills, maybe learn a couple of new tricks?"
 
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Meetan- You rush to the hole, sharing a quizzical look with the Tauros, you were both a bit confused about what had happened. You shout down the hole to Farren, who has unfortunately gone from one level of uncomfortable to another. As you call out, the Pineco rocks backwards and fires up a String Shot, seems like he really wants to get out of there....

Eridian grabs the thread and begins to pull, but it seems a little heavier than he expected. You find yourself drafted into the task, grimacing at how sticky the String Shot is as you work to pull your Pineco out of the hole. It was like deep sea fishing but on land! You had no idea what you could be dragging up, for all you knew it was more trouble. As the pink Pineco is finally pulled free from the hole, he has someone else attached to him. The big orange jaws of the Trapinch let go of the Pineco as it is dragged above ground. The little Ant Pit Pokemon shies away immediately, whimpering in fear. This didn't really feel like the sort of place you'd find a Trapinch, generally their species preferred sandy areas over forests. Eridian stands wary, not overly trusting of the Ground type. The Tauros seems fine though, perhaps it resonates with the fear in the Trapinch's eyes? From what you can tell it doesn't appear hostile, what are you going to do? The old man likely would have packed things up by now and would be desperate to get back on the road, could you afford to waste more of his time?
Alice couldn't see that Farren was getting more uncomfortable, but the fact wouldn't have surprised her had she known. Eridian was more aware, simply because Pokemon could sense these kinds of things, and Farren wasn't radiating sweetness so much as he was panic. As it was, the dragon was quick to take hold of the string shot and begin to pull, but even with his overwhelming Strength he was having problems. Alice asked the Tauros to step back a bit, just so that she could get a decent angle without tumbling into the hole in the process. When she did latch onto the leash, though, Alice loudly expressed her disgust at the feeling of the sticky, squidgy string, and as soon as they had completed their mission the blonde was wiping her hands on her clothes with a shudder and grimace.

"Farren!" Alice exclaimed in relief, only to stop and coo. "Oooh, a Trapinch!" She wasn't as worried as she had been before, because the little bug didn't seem to be rearing to go. In fact, it seemed to be the opposite, like it was frightened. How unexpected for what Alice had thought to be a troublemaker, but perhaps all of the burrowing had been impulsive behaviour. Was it scared of them or something else? "Hey, it's okay! Eridian, don't worry about them. Look, it's scared." She was about to crouch down and then stopped. They needed to help the old guy, too. "Eridian, will you take this Tauros back to the cart? And tell him I love him." She added in an overly sweet tone, petting the Pokemon's mane with the back of her hand to avoid leftover glue getting stuck in it. Alice made a kissy sound before finally crouching down, the dragon no doubt apologising to the creature before gesturing for them to go together. His trainer was the worst sometimes.

She decided to sit on the grass with Farren, who was relieved to be freed of both Tauros and also the Trapinch's jaws. He hoped it stayed that way. She took off her bag, opening it up to take out a few different treats. "We aren't going to hurt you! Tell them, Farren. If something's wrong, we can help them." She had never heard of a Trapinch out in the forest, though. The Arcane Realm was supposedly weird, but was it /this/ weird? "You seem like you're far away from home, you know. I hope you're okay."
 
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TKF: The trainer's hair stands out to you more than anything else, although his fashion sense does the same. He has a love of pastels, matching his comfortable pink shirt with a pair of long, tan shorts that protect at least some of his legs from environmental scratches and catches. Ever since Adrienne, you've been keeping to yourself a lot more, but you know that the longer your withdrawal goes on the harder it'll be to overcome. This in mind, you approach the stranger, trying to rise over your apprehension. From cool badass to dumb dork in no time at all! Perhaps you should've swiped some flash cards or put on a name tag?

“Oh. Hey, I'm Billy. It's nice to meet you.” He offered his hand for you to shake, looking over at your grass Pokemon. It's clear that he approves of them, which isn't a surprise. One of the Pokemon he's often seen walking around with is a Meganium, and they seem close. Your Braixen earns a bigger smile, clearly entertained by her showy behaviour. It's not the dry, cold entertainment that Adrienne derived from you all, however – it's like seeing the happiness of your Pokemon brought light to his amber eyes, as if the Pokemon's joy was nourishing to the soul. Perhaps not everyone was rough around the edges after all.

“I could give you some help with that, but if you'd rather someone else, there are plenty of options.” Billy offered. “Your Braixen isn't long evolved, is she? What kind of level is her magic at now, and do you have anything specific that you want to achieve?” He's certainly asking the right kind of questions, which makes you think he has experience in such tutoring. Still, if you'd prefer to find someone who might be closer to Braixen's style (whatever that is!), Billy is willing to search. He's an open book, or so it seems! What do you do?
 
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Meetan- Execute plan, divide and conquer! You put Eridian to task, he'd be leading the bashful bull back to its master while you and Farren remained and tried to work out what was up with this Trapinch. Eridian grumbles a few things to the Tauros, part of which is likely an apology for your fawning over it, before the pair head off in the direction you'd came. You watch as the dragon and bull leave the clearing, the Tauros's tails swishing around happily as it follows Eridian like a stray puppy. That left you sitting in the clearing with Farren, the Trapinch not too far away, still fairly cautious. As you pull out your bag, the smell of food seems to draw the Ground type in. Farren begins to talk to it as well, welcoming it in and letting it know you were here to help, not harm.

Trap pin pinch?

The bug clicks as it scuttles in closer. Eyeing off your bag. You're taken a back as the Trapinch just jams its massive head into the bag, pulling out an Iapapa Berry. The berry is quickly broken down by the Trapinch's powerful jaws, no worries Trapinch, help yourself!

Trapinch ate your Iapapa Berry!

The berry seems to satisfy the seemingly young Pokemon as it climbs into your lap and settles down. Wow, didn't take much to earn its trust! Farren rolls his eyes, he wasn't too impressed that the Trapinch had gone from biting his butt to cuddling you. You now had the Trapinch's trust and the Pokemon was clearly displaced, at least that is what you had gathered from Farren. Maybe it would be best to take it with you? Eridian would likely have made it back to the cart with Tauros by now and if anyone had an idea about where the Trapinch had come from, a local like the merchant would be your best bet.
 
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TKF: The trainer's hair stands out to you more than anything else, although his fashion sense does the same. He has a love of pastels, matching his comfortable pink shirt with a pair of long, tan shorts that protect at least some of his legs from environmental scratches and catches. Ever since Adrienne, you've been keeping to yourself a lot more, but you know that the longer your withdrawal goes on the harder it'll be to overcome. This in mind, you approach the stranger, trying to rise over your apprehension. From cool badass to dumb dork in no time at all! Perhaps you should've swiped some flash cards or put on a name tag?

“Oh. Hey, I'm Billy. It's nice to meet you.” He offered his hand for you to shake, looking over at your grass Pokemon. It's clear that he approves of them, which isn't a surprise. One of the Pokemon he's often seen walking around with is a Meganium, and they seem close. Your Braixen earns a bigger smile, clearly entertained by her showy behaviour. It's not the dry, cold entertainment that Adrienne derived from you all, however – it's like seeing the happiness of your Pokemon brought light to his amber eyes, as if the Pokemon's joy was nourishing to the soul. Perhaps not everyone was rough around the edges after all.

“I could give you some help with that, but if you'd rather someone else, there are plenty of options.” Billy offered. “Your Braixen isn't long evolved, is she? What kind of level is her magic at now, and do you have anything specific that you want to achieve?” He's certainly asking the right kind of questions, which makes you think he has experience in such tutoring. Still, if you'd prefer to find someone who might be closer to Braixen's style (whatever that is!), Billy is willing to search. He's an open book, or so it seems! What do you do?
This was already going better than last time, although Xander hoped that pink wasn't just an unlucky colour for him. Adrienne was the definition of pink, now Billy had a pink shirt? Xander quickly pushed aside his conspiracy theories, he was being ridiculous. So far Billy was the complete opposite of Adrienne, kind and full of life, not some cold heartless biatch. He seemed more than happy to meet himself and his Pokemon. Even better, he seemed to know a thing or two about magic and was willing to assist Braixen or find someone that could. "Oh she literally just evolved", Xander laughed, "she's always been a bit of a trickster though, guess that comes with her Hidden Ability, Magician." She'd used the ability to swipe Froakie's precious Expert Belt when they first met. "She has the basic moves of a Pokemon at her level, Psybeam, Fire Spin and she can also set up a Psychic Terrain!" Their bond had grown since they'd first met, it was hard to believe he'd considered letting Adrienne catch her instead. "You seem to favour Grass types right?" Xander didn't like assuming after the last incident, but the evidence was clear this time. "Being a Fire type, Braixen would love a Grass type move or two to help deal with Water, Rock and Ground Pokemon." Xander knew how useful Grass coverage was on a Fire type, it essentially let them defend themselves against their greatest weaknesses. "I know Braixen can learn Solar Beam and Grass Knot via TM, but I was hoping with some tutelage she'd be able to learn something a bit more unexpected?"
 
No need for the disco
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Raves: You've been to the Arcane Realm a long time ago, way back when Fizzytopia was a very different place. The Realm itself has changed, even this far out in the desert lands, although most people would have no idea about that. You think the populace is foolish to forget, and your Pokemon agree with you. Reminiscing brings you comfort, which is interest, because with all of the Hells you've traversed through – literal and otherwise – you'd think it'd trigger enough PTSD for you to just curl up onto the arid ground and let it swallow you whole.

It'd be a beautiful place to die in, to be fair, which is probably a good motivator for moving your behind. Below the blanket of stars, verdant hills and steep mountains surround you, albeit far away. The Land of Cups is a silly name, but very appropriate given the terrain, and if you don't come out with leg muscles for days you might have wasted your time. This area isn't the kind for other people, which suits your solitary nature well, but you swear that in the distance you see a lone silhouette – tall, thin and without curves; but their hair is still long and black and flowing in the wind. This small desert is supposedly littered in meteorites and forgotten treasures, and rare Pokemon besides. If you don't feel like talking to them, they might not have noticed you – and they certainly aren't looking your way! - but if you do... Maybe they would know where a good adventure could be found?

What do you do?

-
The sky above the trio twinkled with countless stars, and with the hills and mountains in sight, he could see why this area earned its name, given the cuplike nature of the small valleys. Having arrived with minimal knowledge of the Land of Cups, Alex nevertheless had known the desert apparently held numerous meteorites and unknown treasures, as well as rare pokemon who called the rugged landscape home. Nothing out of the ordinary in terms of a desert, then, but the solitude within the desert was still something to appreciate.

Alex paused for a second, squinting eyes at something in the distance. It seemed to be some sort of silhouette, seemingly human by the looks of things, with considerably long hair but no evidence of being a lady judging by the lack of prominent curves. They hadn't seemed to notice him or his companions, something that was perhaps a bit odd given that one of said companions had a perpetually burning head, while the other could be fairly easily mistaken for being shiny to the untrained eye. While uncertain of their place in the desert, they certainly struck a distinct figure among the browns and yellows, and while normally he wouldn't have paid much heed, truth be told Alex wasn't in this desert for direct monetary gain, nor was he hunting an elusive creature to recruit into his team. No, he was here with Nothung and Nuhuko solely to find something of interest to do, and to rekindle a passion for adventure, one that had slowly eroded over time. Not so much for Alex, but certainly for the Infernape, who had been itching to get out into the world a bit.

Taking a quick draw from a waterskin he had prepared, the man turned to his allies, motioning towards the figure in the distance, and with a nod and hum, the trio began to make their way to said figure, curiosity in their eyes. After all, adventure seldom came to those who weren't seeking it.
 
Fizzytopian Idol
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TKF: Talk about PTSD, not only were you struggling to interact with people, but the colour pink seemed to bring back all sorts of bad feelings. Did the meadow's pinker flowers upset you, too, or the Pokemon? It sounds like you need therapy. That aside, Billy was listening to you intently, nodding along, clearly interested in what you had to say. “Magician? She really does fit in well here.” Billy said at one point, but then you made your request known, and the other boy folded his arms and shifted his weight a little while he thought it over.

“Yeah, I do favour grass-type Pokemon. I actually have a Meganium, not a Grotle, though.” He added off-handedly. “I can definitely help with that, there are lots of grass-type moves that you wouldn't normally see on a Braixen but could come quite naturally to her with some work. Are you thinking more offensively or defensively? If she can set up a Psychic Terrain, setting up a Grass Type one is potentially possible, but it might come easier once she's more comfortable with handling the element. This kind of environment is perfect for that, deep in nature. Hopefully training here means she's more attuned. Just know it might be slightly harder for her to use unnatural magic outside of this place. The aether is thick here, it takes more effort elsewhere.”

He's let your party know the reality of the situation, but Billy still seems positive that he can help! Braixen isn't deterred, either. In fact, she seems more than ready to get stuck in and learn some moves that set her apart for the rest. So, if you've no second thoughts, are you ready to begin?

Raves: You didn't come here in search of a specific Pokemon or to seek riches and mysteries untold. Honestly, you just came here for an adventure. You'd been stuck in a rut for a while now, uninspired by the wandering trainer life, and your Infernape had been itching to get back out into the world – like, really out. The connection that the Desert of Stars had for you between the old and the new was thankfully inspiring more than depressing, and as if hearing your wish, said stars had gifted you an opening – although you did wonder if said opening was fucking blind. Your Pokemon's head was on fire! How had he not noticed you?!

To be fair, he was facing the other way, and once your group got close enough he clearly heard you coming. The man turned, pale moonlight shining upon his angular, chiselled face. He was tall, strong in spite of being slim, and his outfit hit you with another wave of nostalgia. It was as if Talas had spit him out from one of its richer neighbourhoods: he even had a gold band on each wrist and a few rings on long fingers. The man looked surprised to see you, but then he smiled with perfect white teeth. He'd won the genetic lottery, and had a backdrop of starlight to boot. Arceus weeps.

“Oh. Hello. I didn't expect to meet anyone this far out, especially not at this time of night.” He greeted you, ever so politely. There was something just naturally soft and airy about him, and you got the distinct feeling that if you had been someone more devious he wouldn't have stood a chance. “I've always been more of a night person myself, but it isn't exactly convenient for exploring, or keeping out of trouble in a place like this. Noone out here to hear you scream if anything goes wrong-- ah, I'm rambling.” He scratched the back of his head apologetically before dropping his hand back to his side. “Can I help you? – Were you looking for a battle? I only have three Pokemon with me, I'm afraid. I hope that isn't a problem.”

It sounds like he might have a need of you, honestly. Or by morning there might not be anything left of him, nevermind his voice box. What do you do?
 
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